Worming a way into autumn

THERE has been a definite change in the weather, with cold nights and shorter days already, and the prospect of most horses coming in for the winter.

Oh, the thrill of mucking out every morning before work fills me with joy.

But with autumn upon us it’s important to think about worming horses for tapeworm.

Tapeworm inhabits the intestines of horses and over time they can cause a narrowing and potential obstruction of the ileal-caecal junction in the horse’s intestines.

This narrowing can lead to colic and in some cases may require surgical correction with all the inherent problems associated with surgery in horses.

This problem can be avoided easily either by worming for tapeworm with an appropriate wormer in autumn and spring, or blood sampling your horse and worming appropriately.

Tapeworm cannot be detected by a worm egg count, segments rather than eggs being shed by the horse, but a blood test has been developed which detects antibodies to tapeworm.

The blood test gives an accurate guide to the level of tapeworm in the gut and on this basis whether to worm for tapeworm or not.

Tapeworm takes approximately two years to build up to a level that is significant and potentially problem causing so blood testing is a useful tool in a strategic worming programme.

Worm egg counts are also extremely important in any worm programme and we encourage all our clients to bring in faeces samples.

We have lots of offers available for worming packages for our clients during October and would encourage all horse owners to worm their horses appropriately.

Team Piccolo continues to storm the showing world and, despite a few bucks in the show ring (thankfully not in view of the judge), he was fourth in a very strong riding horse class at Stanhope Show.

Despite being worried that all the noise and activity on the show field would upset him, I needn’t have worried. He loved every minute, gave a fine individual display and looked very glossy in the ring — all that bathing and polishing paid off.

Now I’m looking for a few events to go to over the winter. I didn’t realise how addictive this showing could be. I just need to find a few more Retrained Racehorse classes. I’ll keep you all posted.

SALLY BOOTH, Director and Senior Vet